My mother introduced me as her daughter, and then tacked on “the writer”. I was already anxious about an evening of “niceties” with people whose names I couldn’t recollect (while I stood in heels sucking my gut in). I’m sure the undertaker noticed my plastic grimace and my eyes shifting to bore holes in the back of my mother’s head. My immediate thoughts were:
- I’m not sure “writer” is the word you were looking for
- Why would you tag that on to the introduction – he didn’t ask
- This is really awkward. I feel like she’s trying to set us up…and we’re both married
- I met him at the last 2 funerals we had here, in the last 4 years. Same room, same décor, same awkward grin
- He just said “I’ll have to check it out”…but he never asked where he should go to “check it out”
On Friday I read a post entitled “If you’re a writer without a rejection letter, you’re doing something wrong”. If this hypothesis is true then either (a) I’m not a writer, or (b) I must be doing something wrong. Or (c) both.
I don’t have any rejection letters. But if I’m being honest, it’s probably because I haven’t sent out my writing. I did receive hate mail once from an anonymous stranger who kindly assumed I got knocked up and manipulated Hubby into taking me as his wife. That’s the short version of a very long, neatly-typed letter. I kept it because it was just so bizarre…but that has nothing to do with my writing.
I might have been rejected by my college newspaper. I submitted poetry under a pseudonym, which they
incomprehensibly published. Once, they put in a note asking “Amadeus” to “stop by the office some time”. I was really excited…until my Mom piped up that they probably just wanted me to seek professional help. I’m sure she was joking, but it spooked me, and I never stopped by. I’m not even sure I submitted any more poetry. So I could have been rejected.
As far as blogging goes, I receive the rarest smattering of comments. The likes I receive in a day rarely go beyond 4. May I point out that none of those “likes” are my mother. My most popular posts relate to mid-life crisis jokes I pulled off the internet…and toilets. These topics, thankfully, are not related. And my busiest days are my contributions to the weekly photo challenges, with thoughtful quotes…written by real writers. (My first few Mud Hero posts were popular too but mostly because people were looking for my death announcement).
It’s the same story on FaceBook. I’m “friends” on FaceBook with a guy from high school. He just had surgery and wrote something cute about lying on the couch, watching t.v. while his amazing wife took care of him. After I swallowed the bile rising in my throat, I noticed he had 386 likes. I’m happy for him, but I personally don’t know 386 people, even if I were to draw up a list of names of friends, family members, co-workers, team members, and congregation members who know me by more than the title “the girl who sometimes plays the piano”.
What’s my point? I don’t know any more. I just starting typing and this is where we ended up. I’d love to say that the overwhelming evidence (or in this case, the lack of it) was never discouraging. To blow it off with an “I don’t give a crap” attitude. To write an inspiring speech for all the aspiring writers about following your dreams and climbing every mountain.
But that wouldn’t be me.
Am I going to stop writing unless or until someone pats me on the head and tells me I’m a “good” girl? No. Would I reject the odd “pity comment”? No. Do I have rejection letters? No. Can I call myself a writer? My mom has called me a lot of things in the past 40 years, (some of them not fit for publication; most of them spot on!), so if she wants to call me a “writer”, I guess I’d better just suck up the awkward and be thankful! She could call me much worse!
This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or “mwa ha ha” moments.